Prep Your RV For Summer In 5 Easy Steps

The weather is getting warmer and summer will soon be here.

Ramblers Rest RV Resort, Venice, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Ramblers Rest RV Resort, Venice, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Now is the time to start planning your summer vacation. But prior to booking a campsite, owners of recreational vehicles should perform some basic and routine maintenance to ensure that their road trip goes smoothly. Preventative measures and maintenance will reduce the risk of problems.

It is a much better to take care of any problems while at home rather than having to deal with costly repairs while on the road. Trouble-free camping makes for happy camping.

Plug it In – Turn it On

After taking the RV out of winter storage, plug it in to shore power, turn on the LP gas, and connect to city water to ensure that all electric and propane appliances function normally and there is no evidence of water leaks. Also run the air conditioning units and furnace, turn on the refrigerator and freezer, start the water heater, and power up the generator and run with a full load.

Check and Double Check

Top off the fluid levels in your batteries, check all hoses and belts for cracking, and all fluid levels on a motorized RV. Also check the converter and/or inverter for proper voltage. Check the headlights and turn signals. Take a look at all your hitch and towing equipment. Check fire extinguisherssmoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and propane sensor.

North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at North Llano River RV Park, Junction, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kick the Tires

Check the age of the tires—RV tires usually age out before they wear out.

Check that all tires are properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires means more money for fuel. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure and blowout.

If you have a travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer you may need to pack wheel bearings.

Clean the tires and rims and inspect them for evidence of any splits or cracks in the sidewalls and weatherization damage.

Jack it Up

Regardless of your RV type, check the jacks and leveling systems, the awnings, crank and run the generator and service if required.

Open awnings and check for frayed or ripped material. Remove stains and mildew with special awning cleaner and allow awning to dry before rolling back up. Check hardware for functionality and replace as needed.

Tips For Cleaning Your RV Exterior
Products For Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Keep it Clean

Regular cleaning of a recreational vehicle is essential for its maintenance and to ensure the longevity of your RV especially after a long winter in storage. Cleaning starts with your RV roof, because whatever lands on your roof eventually ends up everywhere else on the RV. Always exercise extreme care when working on the roof of an RV, especially when wet.

When inspecting the roof look for tears or holes. Beware of small slices that can allow water intrusion. Get any holes or slices repaired immediately.

Look for peeling, cracking, or openings in the sealants and if found should be cleaned, dried, and resealed.

Next clean the front of the RV including side mirrors, the side walls, and back using a quality RV wash such as McGuire’s. The safest and easiest way to reach the upper part of the RV is with an extension pole system.

Pay special attention to the seams where the wall joints, storage bay doors, marker lights, and appliance outlets are found. Remove dirt, bugs, tar, and other road residue from the surface of your RV.

Inspect the side walls and around windows and doors for cracks or voids in the seams and seals. Scrape and reseal any affected areas with the appropriate sealant.

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After a general clean with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast with a quality product such as McGuire’s Wash and Wax.

Worth Pondering…

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.

—Ben Stein

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Tips For Cleaning Your RV Roof

The majority of RV damage is water damage from leaks as a result of lack of maintenance.

Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Cleaning Your RV Roof. Location: Wahweap RV Park & Campground, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs have an inherent flexibility to them and flex to absorb the variable road conditions upon which they travel. This means that soft flexible sealants are required at the seams where major pieces of the coach meet.

When you take all this into consideration, the RVs we have do a pretty good job at keeping out the elements, but will only do so if maintained properly.

Water kills RVs. Over time, most RVs exposed to water intrusion will rot and fail in one way or another, not to mention the fact that the moisture can lead to problems like mold and mildew.

Take extreme care when working on the roof of an RV, especially when wet.

First, you need to know the type of roof you have on your RV.

There are three primary roofing types used in the RV industry: Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), and fiberglass.

EPDM is the rubber roofing seen on most RVs and is usually pure white with a black bottom layer. EPDM weathers causing a white powder to form as it ages in the sun and if you rub it with your hand you will get it on you. EPDM is smooth to the touch.

Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Cleaning Your RV Roof. Lovation: Arizona Oasis RV Resort, Ehrenburg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

TPO is basically a plastic and comes in several colors and has a textured surface. TPO doesn’t weather the same way EPDM does, so you won’t have the white powder that gets on you when you work on the roof. Because TPO is a plastic, the roof is the same color all the way through. TPO roofing is glued down to the roof decking in the same way that EPDM is, but using a different adhesive.

Cleaning starts with your RV roof, because whatever lands on your roof eventually ends up everywhere else on the RV.

Cleaning a TPO roof is pretty easy. Use a non-abrasive household cleaner, such as Top Job or Spic-N-Span, and a medium-bristled scrub brush. Do not use any harsh or highly-abrasive products during cleaning.

EPDM roofing should be cleaned with a rubber roof cleaner and conditioner, several of which are available commercially through your RV parts supplier. These cleaners and conditioners not only wash away the excess ‘white powder’ from the membrane, but also seal the membrane and reduce the formation of the powder (weathering) from UV and environmental exposure.

American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Cleaning Your RV Roof. Location: American RV Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

CAUTION: DO NOT use cleaners or conditioners containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric-based cleaners on either roof type. You may cause irreparable damage to your roof and may void your warranty.

RV roof seals are often covered in one of two types of sealant materials. First, and the most common is a liquid self-leveling sealant appropriate for the type of roof upon which it is being applied. Second, is a tape product with a super tacky sealant attached to one side and a white plastic or metallic tape on the other.

WARNING: It is imperative that you use a compatible sealant for the roof you have. EPDM and TPO sealants are NOT interchangeable. NEVER use silicone sealant on the roof of an RV. Silicone is NOT compatible with most RV roofing sealants, and doesn’t have the performance properties needed to properly seal the RV.

When inspecting the roof look for tears or holes. Beware of small slices that can allow water intrusion. Get any holes or slices repaired immediately.

Self-leveling sealants are used around everything that goes through the roof, including antennas, vents, and the terminations at the front and back of the roof. Look for peeling, cracking, or openings in the sealants and if found should be cleaned, dried, and resealed. If you believe moisture and dirt have penetrated the sealants, they should be removed and replaced.

If you keep on top of all the seals on your RV (not just the roof) you’ll do a lot to help maintain the long-term value of your unit.

Flag City RV Resort, Lodi, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Flag City RV Resort, Lodi, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t let leaves, pine needles, and other debris collect on the roof of the RV or the slideout toppers. This debris holds and wicks water into lesser protected areas of the roof causing extreme damage. Installing slide toppers keeps this debris off the slide out roofs and out of the slide out seals and keeping the rest of the roof clean and debris free.

With a little bit of work and care your RV can provide you with many years of enjoyment, as well as maintain its value much longer for when it comes time to… you know… trade up!

Hey, we all do it!

Worth Pondering…
A bad day cleaning the RV roof—is better than a good day—working.

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Tips For Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Regular cleaning of a recreational vehicle is essential for its maintenance and to ensure the longevity of your RV especially after a long winter in storage.

Blake Ranch RV Park , Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Cleaning your RV will take some time. But taking care of your RV is an investment that can pay off if you choose to resell in the future. Location: Blake Ranch RV Park, Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A favorable weather forecast; assorted brushes, sponges, bucket, water, hoses, and spray nozzle; quality cleaning products; and time are the necessary ingredients needed for a sparkling clean RV.

Since there are myriad RV cleaning products on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be a challenge.

Opt for high-quality products that will help to ensure the finish on your RV lasts longer.

Some cleaners are created for special purposes such as cleaning awnings or rubber roofs and others are multi-purpose cleaners that can be used for a variety of cleaning applications inside and outside your coach.

The best way to clean your RV is from the top to bottom, which makes perfect sense. Cleaning starts with your RV roof, because whatever lands on your roof eventually ends up everywhere else on the RV.

The roof is oftentimes an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ part of the RV, but it should actually be the last thing that is ‘out of mind’ because it is so vital to protecting the RV and its contents.

First, head up on the RV roof, but do so safely. Take extreme care when working on the roof of an RV, especially when wet.

Buckhorn Lake RV Resort. Kerrville,Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A recently washed RV just begs for a thunderstorm storm to blow through. Location: Buckhorn Lake RV Resort. Kerrville,Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are three primary roofing types used in the RV industry: Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), and fiberglass.

EPDM roofing should be cleaned with a rubber roof cleaner and conditioner and UV inhibitor, several of which are available commercially through your RV parts supplier.

Cleaning a TPO or fiberglass roof is pretty easy. Use a non-abrasive household cleaner, such as Top Job or Spic-N-Span, and a medium-bristled scrub brush.

CAUTION: DO NOT use any harsh or highly-abrasive products during cleaning; and DO NOT use cleaners or conditioners containing petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citric-based cleaners on your roof. You may cause irreparable damage to your roof and may void your warranty.

When inspecting the roof look for tears or holes. Inspect the sealant around the roof vents, air conditioner, and all roof seams for signs of cracks or deterioration.

WARNING: It is imperative that you use a compatible sealant for the roof you have. EPDM and TPO sealants are NOT interchangeable. NEVER use silicone sealant on the roof of an RV. Silicone is NOT compatible with most RV roofing sealants and doesn’t have the performance properties needed to properly seal the RV.

Open awnings and check for frayed or ripped material. Remove stains and mildew with special awning cleaner and allow awning to dry before rolling back up. Check hardware for functionality and replace as needed.

Tips For Cleaning Your RV Exterior
Tips For Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Next clean the front of the RV including side mirrors, the side walls, and back using a quality RV wash such as McGuire’s. The safest and easiest way to reach the upper part of the RV is with an extension pole system.

Pay special attention to the seams where the wall joints, storage bay doors, marker lights, and appliance outlets are found. Remove dirt, bugs, tar, and other road residue from the surface of your RV.

Inspect the side walls and around windows and doors for cracks or voids in the seams and seals. Scrape and reseal any affected areas with the appropriate sealant.

Insects and rodents can make winter homes in the outside compartments. Clear any nests or debris and inspect wiring and hoses for signs of chewing.

After a general clean with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast with a quality product such as McGuire’s Wash and Wax. Waxing the RV is a huge task. Compared to a car it has a massive surface area.

Cleaning the tires and rims and inspect them for splits, cracks, and weatherization damage.

And finally, admire a great job well done.

And finally, admire a great job well done. It is now time to crack open your favorite beverage and sit back and admire your gleaming rig. Location: Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
And finally, admire a great job well done. It is now time to crack open your favorite beverage and sit back and admire your gleaming rig. Location: Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There, what a beautiful RV.

It is now time to crack open your favorite beverage and sit back and admire your gleaming rig. Best to let it all soak in quick because that next rain, dust storm, or mud covered adventure is on the way.

With a little bit of work and care your RV can provide you with many years of enjoyment, as well as maintain its value much longer for when it comes time to… you know… trade up!

Hey, we all do it!

Worth Pondering…
A bad day cleaning the RVing—is better than a good day—working.

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5 Essentials To Buying an RV

A recreational vehicle is a major purchase that can cost, in some cases, more than a house. As with any major purchase, it is smart to do your homework before you buy to be sure you are getting the best value for your money.

Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pop-up camper and fifth wheel trailer camped at Canyon Gateway RV Park, Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When contemplating the purchase of a motorhome or trailer, take your time, do your homework, talk to owners of similar types and brands of campers, attend RV shows, and locate a good reputable dealer who stands behind his products and provides quality service.

There is an RV for every budget and every family. It just takes some time to find it.

The following information is intended to help you navigate the most important aspects of making your dream of owning a recreational vehicle a reality.

  1. Set Goals

Identify your RV needs. Answering the following questions will help you decide which RV is best for you:

  • Are you a weekend warrior, snowbird, or full-timer?
  • How much can you afford to spend including monthly payments and related expenses (fuel, maintenance and service, insurance, license, storage)?
  • What size RV fits your family?
  • Do you prefer a motorized RV or a towable?
  • Which RV features and amenities do you need and which can you live without?
  • When you are not traveling, where will you store your RV?
A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Class A Diesel Pusher and Class A Gas motorhomes at A+ Motel & RV Park, Sulphur, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the first considerations is establishing an RV budget. It’s vital to know how much you can afford to spend on your RV including manageable monthly payments. Also consider related expenses including fuel, insurance, license, maintenance costs, and storage.

Sticking to your goals will help you get exactly what you want and it will also help you avoid purchasing an RV out of your price range. By setting your goals, you can go in knowing what you want and eliminate most RVs that don’t fit your needs.

  1. The Test Drive

A major difference between driving RVs and cars is that they don’t handle the same, especially when cornering. Test-driving is always a good idea to see what kind of RV is manageable for you. The last thing you want to do is get an RV that you can’t drive safely.

Another tip to remember is that once people and all your items are in the RV, weight may become an issue.

White Tank Mountain Regional Park: West Valley Icon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Small travel trailer camping at White Tank Mountain Regional Park Campground, Maricopa County, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Figure on a 20-30 minute test drive in as many traffic, terrains, and road surface conditions as possible. 0-65mph on the test drive, cornering, braking, shifting. Does the steering wheel pull in your hand on different road conditions?

This will be a noticeable pulling to the center or edge of the road. This is an alignment issue and will need to be fixed.

  1. Financing

If you’re like most, you’ll probably be financing a portion of your purchase. Discuss financing with your local bank or other lending institution prior to purchasing an RV to determine your credit limit and assure approval.

Another thing to consider is that because every motorhome most likely has a bed, kitchen, sink, and bathroom, the IRS classifies them as homes. This means that the interest on your loan may be tax deductible as a home mortgage. In Canada, this is not the case.

  1. Maintenance 

Your RV is a valuable investment; however, it can be very costly to repair if it is not properly maintained.

There are two basic types of maintenance for your RV: preventative maintenance and scheduled maintenance. Often these two terms are used interchangeably.

Preventative maintenance is maintenance you perform on your RV before a problem exists and consists of cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, adjusting, and servicing your RV.

Scheduled Maintenance or routine maintenance is performed in intervals normally based on time, mileage, or hours.

  1. Don’t Buy Right Away
Keystone Montana fifth wheel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Keystone Montana fifth wheel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When it comes to researching your new RV purchase, the last thing you want to be is hasty. It is important to take your time while considering your budget, wants and needs, future travel plans, and any other items you feel are important in making your decision, such as safety, quality, and reliability.

One of the most important things you can do when buying is to always shop around. Don’t just buy from your first stop. Look around, compare prices and find the best deal available.

With these tips, you will be successful in your purchase and operation of your new or new to you RV. Enjoy!

Worth Pondering…

Never forget your dreams.

—Corczak

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Preparing the RV for Long-Term Storage

Palm City, Florida-based Shurhold Industries now offers a step-by-step guide for RV owners preparing an RV for long-term storage.

Shurhold Industries SMC in 32 ounce bottle
Shurhold Industries SMC in 32 ounce bottle

The guide covers all the bases, so a rig remains in top shape and is ready to go for the next season, according to a company news release.

All things that mold or mildew should be discarded to prevent foul smells. Owners should also get rid of all food and liquids, emptying the refrigerator.

For better airflow, cushions can be removed or propped up and storage hatches can be left open. Once the above is accomplished, the entire RV should be cleaned and vacuumed with dehumidifier bags placed throughout the cabins.

Cleaning the drains and the sump prior to storage is absolutely crucial to keep odors and bacteria from becoming a problem. The RV can absorb the odors and mildew that grow in moist, dark environments and they will spread throughout.

Shurhold products available for use in these procedures include Serious Multi-Purpose Cleaner (SMC) and Moldaway.

Moldaway can be used to clean the drains in sinks and showers with one scoop into each with a cup of water. After letting it work for a few minutes, owners can rinse it out.

Bleach-free and chlorine-free, Moldaway is an oxygenated cleaner that is safe on most

Shurhold Industries Moldaway
Shurhold Industries Moldaway

fabrics/colors.

Moldaway cleans and deodorizes drains without harming the piping and also helps clean the sump container by oxygenating the sump water, killing mold/mildew spores and other bacteria, safely and without bleach. Depending on where an RV is stored, the yard may suggest flushing antifreeze through the system.

The cleaner carpets and canvas surfaces are, the better they will look when taken out of storage. Before sealing up the RV, owners should vacuum and shampoo the carpet with SMC, and let it dry. This will reduce the likelihood of any bacteria growing there. If possible, cockpit carpet should be cleared out or at least rolled up and stored in a cabin. It is best to remove canvas and store it in a dry environment. Then, owners can clean it in the spring with Moldaway or Brite Wash.

The undercarriage should be washed with a pressure washer and/or plain water with a soft-to-medium brush. Soaps and detergents are generally not used. Wax is also a good idea.

Lastly, all mechanical, electronic, and other systems should be readied for a long storage nap. Owner’s manuals must be consulted on these crucial tasks because it can affect the warranty.

Shurhold’s SMC and Brite Wash are available in 32 ounce ready to use trigger spray bottles for $11.98 each.

Moldaway is available in a 12 ounce bottles for $12.98.

Details

Shurhold Industries

shurhold-logo1-mediumShurhold manufactures specialty care items and accessories to clean, polish, and detail.

Shurhold began as a small, one-man operation based out a garage in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

It was started on July 1, 1973 by William E. Peach, who self-admittedly had no knowledge about the design or manufacturing of Boat Detailing Products.

Since its beginning in the garage plant, Shurhold Industries has designed and manufactured the most innovative specialty care and accessory products available for the marine, RV, and auto industries.

Shurhold is dedicated to educating owners on RV value preservation.

As the original creator of the “One Handle Does It All” design, Shurhold continues to maintain the highest standard of quality and service. Innovative designs, combined with top quality materials, and meticulous workmanship make each and every Shurhold product a premium item.

Address: 3119 S.W. 42nd Avenue, Palm City, Florida 34990-5558

Phone: (772) 287-1313 or (800) 962-6241 (toll free)

Website: www.shurhold.com/rv

Worth Pondering…

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course, of action and follow it to an end require … courage.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Dumb Mistakes RV Owners Make

When you RV as much as we have, you see people do many dumb things that are the result of lack of planning or common sense, or just plain stupidity.

Virginia: Mechanical Failure Causes Motorhome Fire (Credit: Sid Choudhari)
Virginia: Mechanical Failure Causes Motorhome Fire (Credit: Sid Choudhari)

It does not seem possible that people could make so many bad mistakes when they travel by RV—but they do.

Most people who enter the world of RVing do so with little or no prior experience with recreational vehicles. Unfortunately, they often make mistakes that are costly.

Everyone should experience traveling the country in an RV. There is no other way of travel that compares. You can enjoy the scenic wonders of nature without compromising on comfort no matter where you travel.

But along with the countless benefits to traveling by RV, there are numerous details to consider in order to travel safely and ensure that your travels don’t end in disaster.

The most common mistake by RV owners is negligence concerning the maintenance of their recreational vehicle.

Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency. The proper maintenance of your recreational vehicle is a key to keeping you on the road to safety. An RV that’s mechanically sound will be less apt to break down.

Although it may never seem that anything could go wrong when you’re all packed and eager to leave for your trip, forgetting to check on all the important areas of your RV will, sooner or later, come back to haunt you.

Always check the pressure and condition of your tires before taking your RV on the road.
Always check the pressure and condition of your tires before taking your RV on the road.

Maintenance falls into two basic categories: routine and preventive. Let’s look at some of the tasks you’ll need to perform in each category.

Routine RV maintenance includes tasks required by warranty to be done at scheduled intervals. The most important routine maintenance task you can perform is checking your owner’s manual and warranty. These documents spell out which tasks must be performed, when, and by whom.

Routine maintenance performed on motorhomes include changing engine oil and filter, lubricating the chassis, and servicing the transmission.

Performing routine maintenance will help you avoid costly emergency maintenance down the road. If you neglect your routine checks and maintenance, the cost of repairs increases tenfold when the RV does break down, usually at the most inconvenient time.

Preventive maintenance is not required by warranty. Rather, it’s designed to identify and address potential problems before they arise.

Inspect all belts and hoses for cracking and replace as required.

Inspect the engine, battery, and fluids for proper levels. A good rule of thumb is to check fluids levels—engine oil, power steering, transmission, coolant, wiper fluid—and tire pressure prior to each day of travel. Use your owner’s manual as a guide.

Check headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals.

Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit, including jumper cables, a flashlight, and ample bottled water.

Ensure your tires have the recommended air pressure, sufficient tread depth, and have not aged out (NOTE: RV tires typically should be replaced due to age after six to eight years).

Correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road. Under-inflated tires affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior and are more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout, especially on high-speed Interstate journeys.

Carefully study the parameters of your RV, especially the cargo carrying capacity (CCC), because it’s the maximum permissible weight that can be safely added to the vehicle.

Did you know the height of your RV? Pictured above one of several covered bridges on Ohio's Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Did you know the height of your RV? Pictured above one of several covered bridges on Ohio’s Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exceeding the legal weight can make the design of the RV unstable and ultimately lead to various risks when on the road. Overloading is the number one cause of tire failure.

Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height (remember to include A/C)

Avoid these common causes of RV accidents:

Fires that occur from leaking LP gas (propane)

Tire blowouts due to overloading or to under inflated or worn-out tires

Ensure that you retract outside steps prior to traveling

Antenna down?

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

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Tips for RV Safety: How to Avoid Common Accidents

Driving an RV is like driving a small house around the country—down highways, through back roads, and up and over mountain passes.

Did you know the height of your RV? Pictured above one of several covered bridges on Ohio's Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Do you know the height of your RV? Pictured above one of several covered bridges on Ohio’s Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And as more people join the RV lifestyle, it becomes increasingly important that RVers have a basic understanding of common RV accidents and how best to avoid them.

Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency.

The proper maintenance of your recreational vehicle is a key to keeping you on the road to safety. An RV that’s mechanically sound will be less apt to break down.

Most of the common RV accidents can be avoided by preventative maintenance and proactive attentiveness.

While the hazards are numerous, taking simple steps to avoid them is much easier than finding yourself facing the consequences of an RV accident or mishap.

Knowing the most common mistakes and having the knowledge to prevent them will keep RV drivers safe and their trip enjoyable.

Awnings are the number one repair for RV maintenance and repair companies. Drivers that forget to retract and lock their awning in the evenings, or sometimes before they start driving away, will quickly discover that awnings aren’t designed to withstand high winds.

When entering or departing a camping site check your surroundings for low branches, obstacles sticking out of the ground, and other hazards. Pictured above Sesquicentennial State Park, affectionately known to locals as "Sesqui", is a spacious, green getaway in the heart of the South Carolina Sandhills region near Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
When entering or departing a camping site check your surroundings for low branches, obstacles sticking out of the ground, and other hazards. Pictured above Sesquicentennial State Park, affectionately known to locals as “Sesqui”, is a spacious, green getaway in the heart of the South Carolina Sandhills region near Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Accidents such as fires or lack of clearance can cost more than just the expense of the RV repair—such disasters can harm the traveling family as well.

Know Your Height

Sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many people forget the extra height of an RV while driving.

Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip.

In order to keep your RV in one piece and avoid getting hung up—literally— consider the following guidelines:

  • Pay close attention to posted clearance measurements
  • Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height (remember to include A/C)
  • “We’ll probably fit” does not cut it—don’t take the risk

Also be aware that the typical width of an RV is 8.5 feet and the typical highway lane is 10 feet in width. This gives you about a foot-and-a-half to work with.

Tighten Up: Conduct a Pre-Drive Safety Check

Many accidents are caused by simple forgetfulness: leaving doors unlatched, awnings up or steps extended. Create a step-by-step checklist, and like a pilot on a jet, conduct a final walk-around visual inspection before driving away.

A pre-departure checklist should include the following:

Pack and secure all outside items, e.g. store mats, chairs, grills, and bikes

Ensure bay doors are closed, latched, and locked

Slide out rooms fully retracted and secured

Secure all loose items, e.g. toaster, toaster oven, coffee maker, dishes

Kitchen cabinet drawers, closet doors, and refrigerator closed and securely latched

Ensure stove, oven, heater burners, and refrigerator are in off position

Turn off water pump and water heater

Power cord, cable or satellite TV cable, water and sewer hoses disconnected and stowed securely

Lower roof vents

TV antenna, jacks, steps, and awnings fully retracted

Check oil, transmission, and coolant levels

Turn propane off at the tank

Check tire inflation pressure and adjust as required; inspect tires checking for cracks and uneven tread wear

Some road are best explored in the toad after parking the RV. Pictured above Mokee Dugway (elevation 6,426 feet) looking south to the Valley of the Gods (Utah), an 1,100 feet drop in 3 miles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Some road are best explored in the toad after parking the RV. Pictured above Mokee Dugway (elevation 6,426 feet) looking south to the Valley of the Gods (Utah), an 1,100 feet drop in 3 miles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tow bar and safety cables in place

Ensure all signal, four-way hazard, brake, running, and fog lights are operational

Check under the rig for signs of fluid leaks

Checking your surroundings for hazards before departure, e.g. weather, low branches, and obstacles sticking out of the ground

Check campsite to ensure it’s clean and no items are left behind

Final 360-degree walk-around the RV before getting in the driver’s seat and leaving for your next destination

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

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Does Your RV Wander?

Ever wonder why you wander?

Preventative maintenance can be the difference between arriving safely at your destination and a costly roadside problem. Pictured below is the beauty of Valley of Fire at Atatl Rock Campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Preventative maintenance can be the difference between arriving safely at your destination and a costly roadside problem. Pictured below is the beauty of Valley of Fire at Atatl Rock Campground. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Confused when your RV can’t cruise straight?

Want to know how you can bolster your braking and ratchet up your road handling?

The answer is simple: Correct the tire pressure.

Because of the cost of RV tires and the risk associated with blowouts on a large motorized vehicle or towable, routinely maintaining RV tires is essential.

The most important factor in maximizing the life of your tires is maintaining proper inflation pressure.

An under-inflated tire will build up excessive heat that may stretch the limits of the rubber; conversely, an over-inflated tire reduces the tire’s footprint on the road, reducing traction, braking capacity and vehicle handling. Not to mention harsh ride, uneven tire wear, increased vulnerability to damage…you get the picture.

By keeping your tires at their optimum pressure, your travel costs are also reduced. Since under-inflated tires require a bigger force to make them turn, your vehicle uses more fuel.

Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure. Your tires can be as much as 50 percent under inflated before it is visibly noticeable.

Tires can lose one psi (pounds per square inch) per month under normal conditions.

Proper Tire Inflation Chart
Proper Tire Inflation Chart

To determine the correct air pressure for your tires, load your coach as you would normally travel, including water and fuel. Find yourself an RV dealer and weigh each wheel of your coach independently, with driver and any passengers in the vehicle.

Using either the Michelin or Goodyear tire care guide (available online), determine the weight on each wheel position for your coach. Then, adjust the pressure in each tire according to the heaviest side of each axle—but ONLY when tires are “cool” (have not been driven for even one mile).

NEVER reduce the air pressure in your coach’s tires on hot tires.

One last very important point to remember—you can have different tire pressure for your front-axle tires vs. your rear-axle tires, but NEVER for one side vs. the other.

Proper tire pressure gives you a coach with maximized braking capabilities, road handling, and perfectly aligned drive.

The next step?

Now get out there and enjoy some summer sun!

Happy trails!

Please Note: The above information is courtesy of Freightliner Custom Chassis

Details

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC)

ifreightlinerFreightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, and school bus, and shuttle bus markets.

FCCC also offers the around-the-clock expertise of its FCCC 24/7 Direct customer service line and a network of more than 400 Freightliner service centers, including the motorhome-tailored Freightliner Oasis Network of more than 90 dealers.

FCCC is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

Address: 552 Hyatt Street, Gaffney, SC 29341

Phone: (864) 487-1700

Customer Support Center: (800) FTL-HELP (1-800-385-4357)

Website: www.freightlinerchassis.com

Worth Pondering…

To re-create yourself anew in every moment in the grandest version of the greatest vision ever you had about Who You Really Are. That is the purpose in becoming human, and that is the purpose of all of life.

— Neale Donald Walsch, in Conversations with God

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Is Your RV Ready To Roll This Summer?

If your summer plans include a killer road trip, it means getting the rig ready to hit the road.

Is your RV ready to roll this summer? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Is your RV ready to roll this summer? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Beyond simply pulling the cover off giving it a good spring cleaning, here’s a list of 10 important steps to take to make sure your coach is road-ready and in tip-top shape as you hit the open road.

The snow is gone, the sun is out, and Memorial Day—and in Canada, Victoria Day—is now behind us. All of which means one thing: summer is here!

If your summer plans include a killer road trip in your coach—and Vogel Talks RVing certainly hope it does) —it also means getting your rig ready to hit the road, especially if it’s been in storage for an extended period of time.

Beyond simply pulling the cover off giving it a good spring cleaning, here’s a list of 10 important steps to take to make sure your coach is road-ready and in tip-top shape as you hit the open road.

1. Remove covers from tires and inspect for damage; weigh your coach to ensure correct tire pressure.

2. Check for vital fluid levels: engine oil, coolant (reservoir AND radiator), transmission fluid, and hydraulic fluid.

3. Check belts, engine fan, hoses, and wiring for damage—and replace as necessary.

s your RV ready to roll this summer? Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
s your RV ready to roll this summer? Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Lubricate chassis, drive train, and exhaust brake cylinder; check rear axle lubricant level.

5. Check engine compartment for any animals that may have nestled up during the winter.

6. Check the charge level of the battery, and clean cable ends. If they do need to be removed, always connect the positive cable before the negative cable, and coat terminals with a protective die-electric spray.

7. Turn the ignition to the run position, and verify the fuel gauge, and voltmeter are operating properly.

8. Run the engine until it is warm, and check exterior lights, leaks, and moisture build-up in drain air tanks

9. Take your coach for a five-minute test spin and check for anything suspicious.

10. Run generator during test drive for generator operation

That’s it. With these 10 steps successfully completed, your coach is ready for its summer road trip.

The next step?

Get out on the open road and enjoy some summer sun.

Happy trails!

Please Note: The above information is courtesy of Freightliner Custom Chassis

Details

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC)

ifreightlinerFreightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, and school bus, and shuttle bus markets.

FCCC also offers the around-the-clock expertise of its FCCC 24/7 Direct customer service line and a network of more than 400 Freightliner service centers, including the motorhome-tailored Freightliner Oasis Network of more than 90 dealers.

FCCC is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

Address: 552 Hyatt Street, Gaffney, SC 29341

Phone: (864) 487-1700

Customer Support Center: (800) FTL-HELP (1-800-385-4357)

Website: www.freightlinerchassis.com

Worth Pondering…

Creative thinking may mean simply the realization that there’s no particular virtue in doing things the way they have always been done.

—Rudolph Flesch

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Cleaning Your RV Interior

Just like your home, your recreational vehicle requires a thorough cleaning on a regular basis.

Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them. (Credit: just5moreminutes.com/)
Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them. (Credit: just5moreminutes.com/)

It’s a fact of life that nothing stays clean for long—and that includes your RV.

A newly mopped floor is just waiting for a spill. That’s especially true with a young family.

The need for cleaning never disappears. Fortunately, most cleaning isn’t difficult.

Occasionally, though, you run into something that refuses to come clean, or you are convinced that there must be a better way. That’s when it’s time to visit Camping World.

Prevention of dirt accumulation through the use of indoor and outdoor mats, removing shoes before entering, and practicing tidy habits will go a long way toward keeping your RV interior clean and your sanity intact.

When dirt and dust from the outdoors find their way inside your RV or spills need to be cleaned up, you want these chores to be quick, easy, and effective.

When cleaning an RV interior start from the top and work your way down. Begin a thorough cleaning by dusting the ceiling, wiping light fixtures, and cleaning ceiling vents.

When cleaning the RV bathroom, start from the top and work your way down. Organic matter may stick to walls and mirrors, and as you work your way down, it may fall to other surfaces or the ground. By starting tall, you avoid spreading the matter around.

NEVER use bleach or abrasive cleaners in the RV kitchen and bathroom sinks, shower-tub, or toilet. These products can damage the surfaces and holding tanks, and degrade the seals around your tanks—causing an unpleasant and messy problem.

Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them. (Credit: just5moreminutes.com/)
Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them. (Credit: just5moreminutes.com/)

Use only mild soaps or products specifically made for RVs. Or, use a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar.

Clean the stove top after each use to remove spills and other food messes. Remove the grate at least monthly or as needed and wipe out any crumbs and spills with a damp, lightly soaped cloth. Rinse well.

Clean refrigerator spills as they happen. Remove drawers and clean under them. This is the location with the most potential for trouble as the stains are likely to stay.

Always store food in covered containers. Open containers easily spill or are pushed to the back and eventually tip over.

To keep odors under control, store an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.

Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shelves, handles, and doors as needed.

Clean vinyl fabrics with a soft damp cloth and mild detergent only. Do not use solvents as they may damage the surface of the vinyl.

Clean interior windows and mirrors, vacuum carpets and rugs, and wash vinyl floors.

At the end of each trip invest a little time to perform routine cleaning: sweep, mop, or vacuum  the floors. Wipe down the tables and counter tops. Clean the sinks, shower-tub, and toilet. Clean the stove and ovens. Clean up an spilled foods in the cabinets. Remove the refrigerator contents and cleaned it remembering to leave the door open once you’ve turned the unit off.

This helps to prevent the development of mold and mildew.

Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them. (Credit: just5moreminutes.com/)
Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them. (Credit: just5moreminutes.com/)

Final Tips

Keeping your RV clean and neat inside will make it more enjoyable to use and will help retain resale value. As with many situations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Clutter tends to beget clutter, so don’t let the first stray object get things started. Clutter detracts significantly from the pleasure and convenience of using your RV.

Put away items as soon as you’re done using them to create a tidy environment inside your RV.

Cleaning grime as soon as it appears is much easier than allowing it to set in longer.

Never use traditional toilet cleansers or bleach inside your RV toilet. Doing so may create toxic fumes when the cleansers mix with your holding tank chemicals inside the black water tank and degrade the tanks and seals.

Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them.

Worth Pondering…
Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.
—Phyllis Diller

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